Purpose – The present study aims at a deeper understanding of the performance outcomes of the alignment between the e‐business capabilities of manufacturing small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) and their business strategy in terms of Miles and Snow's recognised strategic typology that includes prospectors, analyzers, and defenders. Design/methodology/approach – From a contingency theory perspective, a survey of 107 Canadian manufacturers was used to collect data that were analyzed through correlation analysis. Findings – Results indicate that the ideal e‐business profiles vary in the relation to the firms' strategic orientation, whether it is of the defender, analyzer or prospector type. E‐business alignment has positive performance outcomes for manufacturing SMEs in terms of growth, productivity and financial performance. Research limitations/implications – The nature of the sample impose care in generalizing the results of the study. These results also allow us to emphasise the nature rather than the investment value of the SMEs' information technology investment, given that certain forms of e‐business would be more appropriate for certain firms, depending upon their strategic orientation. Practical implications – For SME owner‐managers that require greater manufacturing flexibility, increased systems integration, products and services of better quality, and higher levels of product and process innovation, the results of this study allow us to prone an examination of their firm's level of e‐business assimilation, this being done in conjunction with their strategic intent. Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to have used a rigorous conceptualisation and measure of alignment to confirm the theoretical validity and empirical usefulness of this notion and of the strategic contingency approach for research on e‐business, and to compare this approach with the universalistic approach founded upon “best practices”.
Industrial Management & Data Systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 23, 2008
Keywords: Electronic commerce; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; Business performance; Canada